What No One Will Tell You About Menopausal Fatigue
There can be many reasons for menopausal fatigue, in this post we will talk about why you may be feeling tired and how to improve your energy levels. The good news is, if you stay fit and healthy and look after yourself, you can control menopause tiredness quite successfully.
What is menopausal fatigue?
Menopausal fatigue is a debilitating tiredness a number of perimenopausal and postmenopausal women experience. It is caused by menopause transition, hormonal changes and a drop in Estrogen levels. It is very common for some women to experience such extreme menopause fatigue that makes everyday tasks very challenging; this can lead to anxiety and worry as exhaustion takes over. It is common for menopausal women to feel weak and exhausted, with some memory loss and irritability.
What is peri-menopause
Perimenopause is when your body is experiencing changes in hormone levels which lead to menopausal symptoms, such as fatigue and tiredness during perimenopause. During this time, you may find your periods are more erratic and you start to experience other varying symptoms such as :
- Menopausal migraine
As the ovaries produce less Oestrogen, changes in hormone levels can trigger menopausal Migraines, which can leave you feeling completely wiped out.
Struggling to look after the needs of the family, working and keeping on top of the housework, while battling a three-day migraine can lead to chronic fatigue. Migraines were one of the first signs of the menopause for me, although it took me and the GP six years to figure it out!
- Night sweats
Night sweats are often one of the first signs of the menopause, and menopausal night sweats are caused by a fall in Oestrogen levels, which in turn throws the function of the hypothalamus or the body’s thermostat off course.
Night sweats can awaken women during the night sometimes ten times a night or more. Menopausal women
findthat they awaken to discover themselves and the bed sheets soaked in sweat, often requiring them to change the bedding before they can go back to sleep. Disturbed and broken sleep is a huge factor in menopausal fatigue and can be very distressing for many women going through the menopause.
- Hot flushes
Hot flushes, also known as hot flashes, can be exhausting as they can happen during the day and at night and can make doing everyday activities very difficult as you try to maintain a comfortable body temperature. They may also cause one to wake several times during the night without the sweating.
- Heart palpitations
Heart palpitations during the menopause can be really stressful as they can leave you feeling weak and short of breath. They can be particularly distressing when they happen at night and can leave you feeling light-headed and slightly faint.
- Weight gain
Weight gain during the menopause is very common and the struggle to carry extra weight can put pressure on the back and joints which often makes everyday tasks very painful stressful and exhausting and can often lead to menopause fatigue.
- Disrupted sleep patterns
Loss of sleep during the menopause can be a huge factor in menopausal fatigue. Lack of sleep can be caused by night sweats, anxiety, drop in Oestrogen levels, all of which can keep you awake for the best part of the night and make it impossible to get back to sleep once again. Often someone who is going through the menopause or perimenopause may find that they are only able to sleep for 2-3 hours per day, and this can make daily life a real struggle. Loss of sleep during the menopause can be a huge factor in menopausal fatigue.
- Sleep apnea
Sometimes caused by reduction in the hormones which play a role in keeping the airways open and maintain muscle tone in the throat. Excessive weight gain during perimenopause can also be a contributing factor and may also be responsible for perimenopause chronic fatigue.
- Menopausal joint pain
Oestrogen helps to reduce inflammation, and as our oestrogen levels decrease, we may experience joint pain. Joint pain may arise in the knees, hips, shoulders, ankles, neck and hands and may be made significantly worse by being overweight. You may find that old injury may start to flare up.
- Coronary artery disease
Women who are peri-menopausal and menopausal are more at risk of developing coronary heart disease or a stroke because the blood vessels are less protected due to lower Oestrogen levels, Oestrogen helps protect different parts of the body such as the heart and the blood vessels.
The risk factors for coronary heart disease are:
• High LDL cholesterol
• Low HDL cholesterol
• High blood pressure
• Family history
• Being postmenopausal
- Low iron levels
Sometimes during perimenopause, women may experience heavy periods and flooding, which can cause low iron levels and sometimes lead to anaemia and menopausal fatigue.
- Aches and pains
Can cause discomfort while sleeping and doing everyday activities, this can lead to sleepless nights. Being unable to exercise can cause weight gain, which also contributes to menopausal fatigue.
Hormonal changes during the menopause can drive feelings of anxiety and low self-esteem. This can lead to many sleepless nights lying awake tossing and turning worrying about things.
Feelings of overwhelming nausea caused by the menopause can hinder exercise and can make hi-impact activities like running difficult, and this can lead to excess weight gain and therefore lead to menopausal fatigue.
- Vaginal dryness
Many women find that they may need to use lubrication during intercourse to avoid discomfort.
- Brain fog
Brain fog and forgetfulness during menopause can often be mistaken for early onset dementia or mental health deterioration and can be a terrifying symptom for a lot of women. It can be overwhelming and exhausting.
- Weight gain
Menopausal fatigue and weight gain come hand in hand as the more weight you carry, the harder it is to exercise and more tired you become, then, you may start to find comfort in food, and the whole vicious circle begins again.
Low self-esteem, lack of confidence and weight gain can all contribute to depression during menopause. If you suspect you or someone you know may be depressed, seek help from your GP immediately.
Changes in hair and skin are due to hormone changes and levels of Oestrogen falling. There are some good vitamins for menopause which can help with skin and nail problems.
If you are wondering if you are perimenopausal, you can always ask your GP for a menopause test, which is a simple blood test to check your hormone levels.
Frequently asked questions
Many women experience fatigue menopause symptoms during perimenopause and right through to post-menopause. There is no exact length of time that fatigue lasts during the menopause, as everyone is different, but you should see your GP if you are concerned about your symptoms.
Menopause tiredness is one of the most common menopause symptoms.
Chronic Fatigue with menopause is prevalent in a lot of women and can be caused by many symptoms, as outlined above.
Does perimenopause make you tired? Perimenopause and fatigue go hand in hand, as your body's hormones start to change, menopause exhaustion symptoms get more numerous.
You could visit your GP who may prescribe HRT, or you could try some natural menopause fatigue supplements or remedies. There is no rule for how long menopause tiredness with last as each person's symptoms are very different from the next.
Menopause does tend to bring on feelings of low self-esteem and anxiety.
The menopause may cause osteoporosis and loss of muscle mass. Regular exercise can help reduce the loss of bone density and muscle mass.
Fluctuations in hormone levels may make you feel nauseas, especially when you are exerting yourself .
HRT or hormone replacement therapy, exercise, good health and dairy, which helps with bone strength, can call help with menopause and fatigue. You should discuss your options with your GP who will help to advise which option is best for you.
For more info on menopause symptoms check out this link
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How do you deal with menopause and fatigue? Drop us a line in the comments!